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Military Extends Nanotechnology Toward Battlefield Use

28 May 2004

A number of Nanotechnology companies are supplying the U.S. military with products such as advanced ceramics to protect aircraft carriers and microscopic sensors to detect biological weapons.

David Reisner, president and chief executive officer of Inframat Corp., a nanotech company in Conniston, said the U.S. Navy now is employing a coating made of ceramic nanomaterials his company manufactures ""in over 150 applications - propeller shafts, periscope shafts, anywhere where you have highly corrosive environments and need wear-resistance. The nanotech coatings offer ductility as well as impact resistance.""

Another company, US Global Nanospace Inc. Texas, has a thin, anti-ballistic material woven from plastic fibres that offer half the weight and twice the strength of products made by the company's competitors. So far, U.S. Global has found its way into armour for military Humvees and bomb defusing units. Italian helicopter company Agusta has purchased anti-ballistic radar antenna housings for its AB412 Series military choppers.

David Doderer, a senior development engineer with U.S. Global, said his company also makes air filters with nanofibres initially developed for extended NASA space flights, to screen out ultra-fine air particles, such as viruses like SARS.

""We're interested in providing the military and others with upfront benefits -- to use nanotechnology today instead of waiting eight to 10 years,"" Doderer said. ""I'm always surprised by the other timeframes I heard, because we're interested in two or three years' time.""





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